What is vinyasa yoga?
Commonly referred to as "flow yoga" or "Vinyasa Flow Yoga", Vinyasa yoga is a style of yoga characterized by stringing postures or asanas together so that the person can seamlessly move from one to another using breath. The breath is synchronized with the continuous flow of asanas. The fluid movements helps increase flexibility, strength, and stamina. It can also improve overall health and calm the mind.
Health benefits of vinyasa yoga
Vinyasa yoga aims to create heat in the body which leads to purification through sweating and increased circulation. Also, it improves the flexibility of the body as well as strengthening the tendons and hard tissues, which allows the person to perform advanced asana without the risk of injuries.
The flowing movement of Vinyasa yoga helps in burning calories, which is instrumental in maintaining or losing weight. Vinyasa yoga beats out other styles of yoga in terms of the amount of calories being burned.
Also, Vinyasa yoga provides a mild cardiovascular response. A study published in the "Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology" in 2004 reveals that two months of yoga training has improved the person’s fitness levels and has resulted in better exercise tolerance.
Yoga helps teach the body to mitigate the stress response by using mental focus and breath. A research review published in the "International Journal of Yoga" in 2011 revealed that regular yoga practice does significantly improve sleep, reduce anxiety and stress, and treat addiction.
Different vinyasa yoga poses
The following are the most commonly used poses or asanas used in Vinyasa yoga and their respective benefits:
- Child's pose - helps in alleviating stress and reducing tension in the neck, back, and shoulders. Also, it gently stretches the hips
- Cat-cow pose - connects the movement from the breath and helps the person to become more physically present in his or her body. Also, it strengthens the core and increases spinal mobility
- Downward-facing dog - opens areas where a person usually get tight such as shoulders, hamstrings, and calves. Also, it strengthens the arms, core, back, and legs.
- Forward fold - opens the hamstrings without putting pressure on the wrists, shoulders, or neck. Also, it relieves stress and calms the nervous system.
- Mountain pose - improves posture. Also, it reinforces a long, neutral spine and a strong core
- Plank pose - works the entire body all at once. Also, it improves posture
- Upward-facing dog - opens the chest and strengthens the arms, shoulders, and abs
- Low lunge with a twist - reduces tension in the hips, stretches and lengthens the quads and hamstrings
- Halfway split - great for the hamstrings, and increases mental focus
- Crescent pose
- Easy pose - guides the attention back to the ebb and flow, the wavelike rhythm of the breath
What to expect from vinyasa yoga
As a faster-paced yoga class, Vinyasa yoga was developed to strengthen the mind and the body through synchronised breathing and flowing movements. It is great for intermediate yoga students. However, it is not recommended for beginners.
A Vinyasa yoga class will include Sun Salutations. The class may be slow or fast, or be alignment-orientated, or include chanting. Some popular styles of yoga are actually styles of Vinyasa yoga but are listed by their own names.